Submitted to: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2008
Publication Date: 9/1/2008
Citation: Park, J., Mendoza, J.A., O'Neil, C.E., Hilmers, D.C., Liu, Y., Nicklas, T.A. 2008. A comparison of the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the United States (US) and Korea in young adults aged 20 to 39 years. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 17(3):471-482. Interpretive Summary: Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Research has shown differences in western vs. eastern diets on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This study compared Metabolic Syndrome among young adults from the US versus Korea. We found that US young adults had higher rates of the Metabolic Syndrome, especially in three of its components (abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyeridemia). Korean young adults had greater rates of low high density lipoprotein cholesterol or HDL. Customized national policies to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome are necessary to combat this nutritional issue.
Technical Abstract: This study estimated and compared the prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome and its individual components in young adults (ages 20-39 years) in the US and Korea using 2003-2004 US and 2005 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. The mean body mass index and rate of metabolic abnormalities in the US were significantly higher than in Korea. The prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in the US was nearly three times higher than in Korea using National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III and International Diabetes Federation criteria (21.6% vs. 6.9% and 23.0% vs. 6.9%, p<0.001). The prevalence of abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia was higher in the US, while the prevalence of low high density lipoprotein-cholesterol level was higher in Korea. The rate of hypertension showed no significant difference, while mean systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure varied between the two countries. The proportion of subjects having at least one component of Metabolic Syndrome was similar in both countries; however, multiple abnormalities were more common in the US. These findings indicate the need for the development of race/ethnic-based norms for components of the Metabolic Syndrome and detailed analysis of the risk factors for the Metabolic Syndrome in the two countries. National health policies designed to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome, its individual abnormalities, and its complications using population-based characteristics of each nation will generate improved outcomes.